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Making Me Happy Today: Paul F. Tompkins’s American Idol Reviews

February 10, 2011

No matter how you feel about American Idol, you should be reading Paul F. Tompkins’s recaps of each show. Why you ask? Because he writes things like this:

“The first serious contestants are Chelsee Oaks and Rob Bolin, and they have a story. They used to be a couple, but Chelsee broke up with Rob. Look, when you’re a lady with a high-class alternate spelling going on in your first name, don’t you deserve the best? The judges are touched by Chel-ob’s tale of endful love and command the exes to sing together, like this is Medieval Times or something. The peasants oblige and harmonize nicely. Rob is being a real sad sack about the breakup. And the judges are sorta subtly rooting for them to get back together. Well, maybe she was right to dump this dude, you don’t have all the facts. Maybe he was a cokehead, who knows? Cokeheads can be sad. It doesn’t mean they deserve to get their girlfriends back. Also, I’m kidding around for satirical purposes and he’s obviously not a cokehead, so please nobody sue me for jokes. To avoid off-with-their-headedness, the two sing separately, as the judges have decreed. Chelsee’s just okay, but Rob can really sing and blows Chelsee off the stage. I bet that felt great, maybe even as great as doing coke. After they leave, J.Lo mutters, “They’re gonna get back together,” and we’re taken outside to see Chelsee’s current boyfriend glare at the unstoppable emotions that emanate from the producers’ editing of this footage.”

And this.

“When we return: Julie Zorilla and her family had to flee Colombia to escape guerrillas. And now, here Julie is, entering a singing contest. I don’t claim to be an expert on such things, but is it possible her presence here means Julie has lost too much of her fear of the threat of guerrillas? I am only saying that if I were in her position, I’d be thinking, Much as my heart yearns to express the joy of freedom, I must never sing. It attracts guerrillas. If I sing too loudly, guerrillas could sneak up on me. Julie sings “Summertime” and gets through; in the process, we learn that Steven Tyler has a working knowledge of the word “unequivocal.””


“The show keeps happening. The Steven Tyler apparition is getting increasingly inappropriate and is dressed like a scarecrow of Charles Nelson Reilly.”

If you aren’t laughing by now, we should probably end our friendship. But if you are, indeed, laughing, and our friendship is still intact, you can (and should) check out Mr. Tompkins’s review every Thursday/Friday on Vulture, if for no other reason than it will give you something to do to procrastinate at work. 🙂

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